Friday, April 13, 2012

Semicolons

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The semicolon is often used incorrectly. It is defined as a punctuation mark; used chiefly in a coordinating function between major sentence elements.





Semicolons function as connectors, joining two points within a single context. An example would be


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The soldiers of the U.S. Army are known for running frequently; physical fitness is emphasized daily.


In this sentence a semicolon is used instead of a period to join two closely related ideas in the same context.


Another function of the semicolon would be to use with a conjunctive adverb


Kattie loves to administer immunizations; however, she hates inflicting pain on others.


Conjunctive adverbs are words like “however,” “therefore,” “in addition,” “subsequently.” These words are preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma when used between two independent clauses.


Use semicolons between groups of words already containing commas


My chain of command consists of SGT Kirkendall, team 1 leader; SFC Eaton, the detachment first sergeant; MAJ Forsyth, the commander.


This sentence contains a series of names and titles with the names separated from the title by a comma.


Now let’s test your knowledge on semicolons with a few practice sentences.


Rewrite each sentence placing a semicolon and commas in the proper place.


1. The Preventive Medicine Specialists couldnt keep up with all the inspections there was too many to do.


. Krone is supposed to write the training schedule, his orders and the memorandums plan the next fundraiser the next unit function and finally to straighten out the whole office.


. Norlie wants to go to airborne school however her mother doesn’t like the fact that she has to jump out of airplanes.


4. The soldiers were tired and hungry from the road march as a result their morale was low to continue on with the mission.


5. The new soldier was confused for the first few weeks with the unit he didn’t know what to do.


Answers


1. The Preventive Medicine Specialists couldnt keep up with all the inspections; there was too many to do. (two related clauses)


. Krone is supposed to write the training schedule, his orders, and the memorandums; plan the next fundraiser, the next unit function and finally to straighten out the whole office. (separate elements that contain commas)


. Norlie wants to go to airborne school; however, her mother doesn’t like the fact that she has to jump out of airplanes. (two clauses joined by a conjunctive verb)


4. The soldiers were tired and hungry from the road march; as a result, their morale was low to continue on with the mission. (two clauses joined by a conjunctive verb)


5. The new soldier was confused for the first few weeks with the unit; he didn’t know what to do. (two related clauses)





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